Our Instructors

Karen Gostenhofer

Hoof n Hope Director

  • MS Landscape Architecture, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
  • Morven Park International Equestrienne Institute, Leesburg, VA
  • Path International, Advanced Therapeutic Riding and Interactive Vaulting instructor
  • Art Institute of Philadelphia, PA Commercial Artist
  • Worcester Art Museum, MA, oil painting: landscapes, animal portraits
  • Worcester Center for Crafts – Sculpture
  • Salve Regina University, Newport Rhode Island: Expressive Arts Facilitator
  • Centered Riding Instructor
  • Natural Horsemanship
  • TTeam for Horses and Dogs
  • Delta Society (Service Dogs)

Karen Gostenhofer is a therapeutic practitioner within animal assisted/expressive therapies. She has studied animal and human behaviors with an anthrozoological approach. Working for twenty years as a landscape architectural designer at Gostenhofer Designs; art and science are joined encompassing the natural, ecological and cultural aspects of ‘Genius Loci’ or ‘Spirit of Place’. Her equestrienne experiences naturally dovetail with an appreciation for ’The Great Outdoors’, understanding and educating others as to the landscape’s human and animal systems, and how horses can bring our attention to our own ‘inner landscape’.

My goal at Hoof n HOPE is to offer joyful experiences to riders by incorporating the horse as the medium through which a participant develops the perception of intuition, feel, balance and timing that is integral to riding harmoniously in partnership with the horse. Hoof n HOPE riding programs help riders and non riders to develop compassion and empathy for animals, addresses the ‘Nature Deficit in Children’, promotes physical, emotional and educational improvements. Through the interaction with nature, incorporating music and the arts combined with the physical challenges of moving through space on a horse; this transformative process allows a person to make positive connections back to themselves. By developing the power of behavioral congruency (i.e. harmony) within a safe environment, one is able to achieve calmness for learning, build greater self esteem and self confidence, and lessen reactive behaviors. As the horse mirrors the rider’s emotional and behavioral inputs, the rider may develop clarity to see themselves reflected by the horse.
– Karen Gostenhofer

Our Horses



  • Born: 2005
  • Gender: Mare
  • Color: Black and White
  • Height: 15.2 Hands
  • Breed: Registered Paint (official name Easy Diamonds)

Chloe came to us in June 2013. Her steady, calm disposition indicates that she will be a unique patient teacher and partner to riders. She loves grazing the rolling acres of the pasture.

Our Mission

We strive to create an atmosphere that will be therapeutic to the child and their family and to instill HOPE. We provide a caring, social environment in which family members join together and meet others to learn, support and share.

Hoof n HOPE is dedicated to promoting and achieving physical, mental, and emotional health for all the riders we serve. Our program aims to nurture personal character, creativity and self exploration while aiding stress reduction, building self confidence, a sense of leadership, and creative problem solving through activities that teach the care of horses and ponies including games, and learning opportunities focused on and around the horse.